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Once you have made your pasta dough it needs to be rolled out and cut to your desired shape. With the variety of pasta shapes and styles that task is a bit more demanding than it sounds and a good pasta maker can make the whole task a lot easier and more fun. Which Pasta Machine is Best? When shopping for a pasta machine there are a few things you should consider. A basic hand crank machine is not very expensive and has been good enough for centuries. These are fun and not difficult to master but you will be limited to what types of pasta shapes you can make. The most basic machines come with a cutting attachment for linguine and spaghetti. If you move up to a slightly more expensive machine there are usually additional cutting attachments you can use a few more varieties.
Stir pasta as soon as it is dropped into the boiling water and keep stirring every minute or so. Never add oil which will coat the pasta and cause it to repel instead of absorb the sauce. Oil would be needed if you are using a low quality pasta since the cheaper wheat would make it much easier for the strands to get glued together. Let the pasta cook on a lively fire stirring it every now and then. Be careful of the cooking time: on italian packages it is usually correct. Better to stop cooking a few seconds sooner than later since the paste will in any case continue cooking for a little while after you drain it. How do you know the pasta is cooked? Well if you do not have a cooking time on the pasta package just sample a strand of the pasta. Break it and see if the inside is still whitish.
In order to flavor the twisted pastas for salads it is good to toss the pasta with the dressing just after draining. If you do this while the pasta is still warm they will absorb the flavor of the dressing and taste better. In addition to the twisted pastas there are shells which come in several sizes. The larger of the shells are great for stuffing with cheese or meat. They then can be served with marinara Bolognese or seafood sauce. The stuffed shells can also be arranged in a casserole covered with sauce and some mozzarella cheese and then baked. This type of dish is also great to make ahead freeze and the cook when needed. To cook a frozen pasta casserole place the whole thing while still frozen in a cold oven. Once the casserole is in the oven you can then turn the oven on to 350 degrees and let it cook.